Items of Interest

Two very important decisions were rendered by the United States Supreme Court on December 2. The first was regarding the right of the United States Government to collect customs duties on articles brought here from the Philippines. The Court held that the islands have been domestic territory since 1898, and under the existing tariff laws, duties cannot be collected. The second decision was regarding Porto Rico. In this case the Court held that Congress has a right to erect a tariff barrier between the United States and possessions thereof. It will thus be seen it is possible for Congress to pass laws in regard to the Philippines similar to those enacted for Porto Rico, under which duties can be imposed on goods coming from the Philippines, and upon American goods going into the islands.

President Roosevelt's message was read in Congress on Tuesday, December 3, and was received with unusual interest. Having received through the message the official announcement of President McKinley's death both houses adjourned out of respect to his memory. In the House a committee consisting of one member from each State, and in the Senate a committee of eleven were appointed to act jointly in arranging for memorial exercises in Congress at some later date. Secretary Blaine delivered the funeral oration on President Garfield at a joint meeting of the two houses. A similar commemoration of President McKinley, with an oration by some national character, will doubtless be arranged by the special committee.

On December 4 the Senate received the new Hay-Pauncefote Isthmian Canal treaty. The report of the Canal Commission in favor of the Nicaragua route and the introduction of Nicaragua Canal bills have brought the matter directly before Congress in advance of action on the treaty. As was anticipated, the commission favors the Nicaragua route and makes an estimate of $189,864,062 as the total cost of the construction of the Canal. It is estimated that the work can be completed within eight years. The total length of the Nicaragua route is 183.66 miles and the Panama route 49.09. The cost of operation and maintaining the Nicaragua Canal will be $1,350,000 per year greater than the Panama Canal.

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Mr. Farlow Replies
December 12, 1901

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